FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS--Nearly 1,200 officers graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer Course here June 9 on the Main Parade Field. The graduating class includes mid-career officers from all American military services as well as 108 international officers representing 88 countries and 15 federal government civilian employees.

Gen. Robert B. "Abe" Abrams, Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command was the graduation speaker. Abrams challenged the students to develop and nurture a mindset that "we need to be ready now." He also told the American graduates "The American people are banking on your service."

Abrams assumed his current position on 10 August 2015. As Commander of the United States Army's largest organization, he commands 229,000 active duty Soldiers, and provides training and readiness oversight of U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve units. In total, the Forces Command team includes 776,000 Soldiers and 96,000 Civilians.

An Armored Cavalryman, Abrams earned his commission from the United States Military Academy in 1982. He has commanded at every level from Company through Division, and led units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Duty with warfighting units include: 3rd Armored Division; 1st Cavalry Division (three tours); 3rd Infantry Division; and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Abrams holds a Bachelor of Science from West Point, a Master of Science from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

The 10-month Command and General Staff Officers Course develops war-fighting and adaptive leadership skills necessary for military officers to be proficient in Unified Land Operations. The College is an educational center of excellence renowned in the study of leadership, the conduct of joint and combined land warfare, and the application of Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational organizations to synchronize all elements of power to achieve national objectives.

Top award recipients for the course include Maj. Trever M. Jones, Infantry, who was named the top U.S. graduate, and Maj. David T. M. Welford, United Kingdom, who was the top international graduate. CGSC Educators of the Year, Dr. Jack Kem and Lt. Col. Christopher Johnson were also honored during the ceremony.

International military students, received the CGSC International Officer Graduate Badge during a ceremony Thursday, June 8, in the Eisenhower Auditorium at the Lewis and Clark Center. International military student participation in cooperative military studies in the United States originated at Fort Leavenworth in 1894. Since then, international military students have become an integral part of the Command and General Staff Officer's Course and to date more than 8,000 international officers have studied alongside U.S. military and government civilian counterparts.

In addition to completing the graduate-level course, 139 students were awarded the Master of Military Art and Science Degree. Students earn the master's degree by successful completion of the Command and General Staff Officers Course, successful completion of an oral comprehensive exam, and writing and orally defending a thesis based on original research. The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to award the master's degree.

Awardees

General George C. Marshall Award for top U.S. graduate, Major Trevor M. Jones, Infantry

General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for top International Graduate, Major David T.M. Welford, United Kingdom.

General George S. Patton Jr. Master Tactician Award, Major Logan J. Dick, Armor.

Major General James M. Wright Master Logistician Award, Major Matthew L. Tillman, Medical Service.

General Douglas MacArthur Military Leadership Writing Award, Major Timothy W. Trimailo, U.S. Air Force.

Iron Major Award for outstanding Physical Fitness: Major Andrew S. Horn, U.S. Male; Major Leah Orlowski, U.S. Female; Major Justin D. Flanders, Canada, International Male; Major Jozette Nisha McLean, Trinidad and Tabago, International Female.

Arter-Darby Military History Writing Award, Major Roberto Spampanato, Italy.

Arter-Doniphan Award, Major David T.M. Welford, United Kingdom.

General John J. Pershing Award for top graduate in Distance Learning, Major Raphael S. Cohen, Cyber. Army.

Major General Hans Schlup Award, Lt. Col. Meshari M. Alhaddad, Kuwait.

Excellence in Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (JC4I) Writing Award, Major Scott J. Harr, Infantry.

Homeland Security Studies Award, Mr. Robert W. Edwards, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Excellence in Joint Service Warfare Award, Major John Barrington, Armor.

Father Donald W. Smythe Military History Award, Major Bryceson K. Tenold, U.S. Marine Corps.

Simons Center Interagency Writing Award, Mr. Adam J. Bushey, USAID

Lt. Col. Boyd McCanna Harris Leadership Award, Major Genna S. Speed, Army Nurse

Brigadier General Benjamin H. Grierson Award for Excellence in Strategic Studies, Major David T.M. Welford, United Kingdom.

Birrer-Brooks Award for Outstanding MMAS Thesis, Mr. Alex Hannagan, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.